February 08, 2024

How to Vote from South Africa 2024


FEBRUARY 2024 – v1

Voting in the 2024 US Elections from South Africa  

The 2024 Primaries and Elections are here! This document aims to provide you with guidance and resources to facilitate the process of voting from South Africa. 
If you're a U.S. citizen or dual-national abroad, you have the right to vote from abroad in the 2024 elections. If you are or will be 18 on November 5, 2024, you can vote in the upcoming elections.

IMPORTANT: Each state has different rules, timeframes and processes. Please check your state-specific information now and plan. Follow your state’s timeframes and procedures carefully to ensure your 2024 vote counts!

More than half of the states now allow for electronic transmission of ballots from overseas voters but other states require “mail-in / postal” return of ballots. If your state requires mail-in-/postal return, please see the options below. Please do not use regular international post from South Africa

Democrats Abroad provides access to all the info you’ll need to vote from the Vote from Abroad website. This doc serves to provide information specific to voting from South Africa.  


We suggest voters use Vote from Abroad (VFA) (www.votefromabroad.org), a nonpartisan service of Democrats Abroad, to request your ballot and access your state info. However, you can also use resources from the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) (www.fvap.gov). You’ll see references to FVAP here and in information from the US Consulates in South Africa.  

Vote from Abroad (VFA)  www.votefromabroad.org  

Get started now: 

1.  Request your overseas absentee ballot - start on the homepage to complete your Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) and submit it. Submit the FPCA annually. If you’re not registered to vote, the FPCA also serves as a registration form.


2.  Check your state’s voting procedures and timeframes – make a voting plan!


3.  Answer any questions from the FAQs section or ask for help.


If you request your 2024 ballots early in the year you will receive ballots, in the format offered by your state, for any elections you qualify for, including primaries if you select a party when you submit your FPCA.  




  • Electronic for the States that allow
  • Courier
  • US Consulate Diplomatic Pouch (by 25 Sept latest)
  • Backup FWAB (prior to 21st Sept, or after, if absentee ballot not received)
  • Please do not use regular international post from South Africa


21 Sept             

Ballot Day - Absentee ballots should be received by email (if requested prior to this date)  

21 Sept – 4 Oct 

Vote! Complete & return your ballot

23-25 Sept        

Drop-off deadlines for voters from states that require mail-in / postal submission who wish to use the diplomatic pouch service of the US Consulates in Cape Town, Durban or Joburg. NOTE: Tues the 24th is Heritage Day in South Africa and Consulates will be closed. 

4 Oct                 

Strongly suggested deadline for all DASA voters to have submitted their ballots




Federal Post Card Application (FPCA)

If you have not already applied for an absentee ballot this year, please do so now. You can do this via www.votefromabroad.org  


  • You can use your last residence in the US or your parents’ address
  • If you have never lived in the US but are eligible to vote, click here https://www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter/reside  
  • Make sure to fill in all sections
  • Selecting “Intend to return” will provide you with access to the full ballot (state and federal). For more info click here: 
  • Ensure you provide a South African address and a phone number
  • SelectReceive absentee ballot by email” and ensure your email address is clear
  • Make sure you have signed the FPCA (they will compare this signature with the one on your ballot)

IMPORTANT DATE: 21 September 2024

If you’ve requested your absentee ballot, it will be sent to you via email by 21 September – Ballot Day – 45 days before the election. If you have not received it by the 24th, please contact your local officials.  




IMPORTANT DATES: 21 September – 4 October 2024

It all comes down to the number of people who actually vote. Please vote!  Every absentee ballot is always counted (not just in close elections)


  • Follow the instructions for your ballot carefully and completely!
  • Ensure your handwriting is legible.
  • Make sure you sign and date your ballot.
  • Confirm that your ballot has been received and counted by emailing your local official or using the state’s online portal.
  • State-specific info available at https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/
  • Regardless of how you send in your ballot, remember that you (the voter) must be the one who places it in the mail. In some states, it is unlawful for any other person to handle your voted ballot, even if it is sealed.



About half of the states now provide options for voters to return their ballots electronically. 

See what your state requires: https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/  


If your state allows for electronic ballot return, we strongly suggest you use it.  More info here https://www.votefromabroad.org/faqs/RT1

  • If returning by fax or email: return each ballot separately.

If you don’t have access to a fax machine, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) offers a free email-to-fax service. You will need to email your ballot and any required supporting materials (see your state’s instructions) to [email protected]  using the FVAP fax transmission coversheet at: www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/coversheet.pdf   FVAP will then fax your election materials to your Local Election Officials.



See what your state requires: https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/  

If your state requires you to return your ballot by mail / post we have two options from South Africa – courier or diplomatic pouch. 

Please do not use regular international post from South Africa.

If sending via the US Consulate Diplomatic Pouch: 

The Diplomatic Pouch has been a great way to send our ballots in past years and the US Consulates in South Africa are providing this service in 2024 but it takes time and when the ballots reach the US they then travel by US Postal Service so they require postage and the complete process can take several weeks – we highly suggest the drop-off deadline of Wednesday 25 September.  NOTESouth Africa celebrates Heritage Day on Tues 24 September 2024 so Consulates will be closed.

  • Follow your ballot instructions carefully!
  • You can print the postage-paid envelopes at https://www.fvap.gov/eo/overview/materials/forms
  • Friends may have stamps to share
  • If sending back more than one ballot via the diplomatic bag - close and seal each ballot separately. Drop off individually sealed ballots in pre-paid postage envelopes or with a US postage stamp (domestic postage) at your local Consulate (by Sept 25)
  • If you hope to mail your overseas absentee ballot from within the US, please contact your Local Election Officer to confirm that it will be accepted. All states have different rules.

You do not need an appointment to drop off your ballot for the diplomatic pouch 

U.S. Consulate General Johannesburg

1 Sandton Drive, Sandton

8:00-16:00 Monday-Thursday

8:00-12:00 Friday

Email questions to: [email protected]  


U.S. Consulate General Cape Town

2 Reddam Avenue, Steenberg Estate, Cape Town

8:00-16:00 Monday-Thursday

8:00-12:00 Friday

Email questions to: [email protected]


U.S. Consulate General Durban

303 Dr. Pixley KaSeme St., 31st Fl, Delta Towers, Durban Central

14:00-16:00 Monday & Wednesday

12:00-14:00 Tuesday & Thursday

8:00-10:00 Friday

Email questions to: [email protected]


If sending by Courier: 

  • We suggest sending it by October 8 (don’t wait till it’s late!)
  • If sending back more than one ballot by courier to the same local officials- close and seal each ballot separately. Then put all into the courier envelope.
  • You must ask for a postmark or date stamp to be placed on the outer envelope.
  • We do not recommend booking or paying online for courier service. You will not receive a postmark if you book or pay online.
  • Track your package to ensure it’s delivered on time and confirm it’s been received.



Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) 

A backup ballot 

As long as you have already applied for your absentee ballot the FWAB serves as a backup ballot if 1) you want to vote extra early or 2) your ballot doesn’t arrive on time.  

For more info on using the FWAB Backup Ballot - https://www.votefromabroad.org/faqs/BB1  

You can complete the FWAB online   https://www.fvap.gov/fwab-privacy-notice  but you will need to print it and submit according to your state’s rules


  • If you’ve requested your ballot but don’t see it in your email (by 24 Sept) – first check your spam folder – it will come from your local election official
  • Make sure to fill in the form carefully and completely
  • Sign the form with the same signature you used on your absentee ballot application
  • Write in the names of the candidates of your choice. If you have not received your list of candidates, you can write in “Democrat” for all. This list should be available in Sept after primaries are concluded. It will be sent out with absentee ballots or you can request from local officials.
  • Make sure you sign the secrecy page too.



Help is available! 

State by State Info - https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/  

FAQs - https://www.votefromabroad.org/faqs/ You’ll find the answers to most questions here!  

Global Help Desk Email -  [email protected]

Online 1-1 help via Zoom will be available when we get closer to the November elections. We’ll keep you updated.

Helpdesk - This icon on the bottom right of the VFA website opens the chat/help function – it’s staffed by experienced Democrats Abroad/VFA Volunteers living around the world.


Need help scanning? Watch this video on how to scan using your smartphone.

If you don't have a scanning app on your phone, you can use Adobe Scan mobile app for iPhone & Android

Democrats Abroad South Africa (DASA) will be available to assist but we are not experts, and every state has different rules, so we strongly encourage you to use the above resources to prepare and to do so early. We will regularly share info and updates via email and on our WhatsApp group and social media, please stay connected. You can contact DASA for help at [email protected] 




It’s very important to vote your ballot completely. The simplest way is to vote for Democrats straight down the ballot. Some elected positions do not have a party affiliation directly associated with the party, like school boards, judges, and others. To determine who to vote for in those cases, you can do the following: 

  • Google your local US Democratic Party
  • League of Women Voters offers a personalized ballot service at https://www.vote411.org/ballot. You can learn where candidates running for office in your community stand on the issues. You can print or email the information to use as a reference when you vote.
  • Google: Ballotpedia "your state" elections 2024 - Example: Ballotpedia Florida elections 2024
  • You can Google the candidate's name to find their campaign website and information about each person.

Every vote counts! Please vote. 


Thank you, 

Democrats Abroad South Africa 

[email protected]